Shaquille O’Neal is among a list of many great LSU players, such as Bob Pettit and Pete Maravich. He is a titan among Tigers greats.
But when he was at LSU, he may not have even been the best player on his team. Or at least the most productive. O’Neal’s physical dominance was unquestioned. He would be a runaway NBA hit. But Chris Jackson was the scorer putting up ridiculous numbers. The Tigers are not as successful without Jackson’s point guard play.
And that is why O’Neal wrote in a letter to the LSU Basketball Jersey Retirement Nomination Committee obtained by LSU blog Tiger Rag that it is time to retire Jackson’s No. 35 jersey.
“You know his record at LSU,” O’Neal writes. “You saw him bring LSU fans out of their seats. When I heard you might consider retiring his jersey, I jumped at the chance to offer my input as to what Chris Jackson meant to the LSU Basketball Team.”
Jackson was a two-time consensus All-American, averaging 30.2 points per game and 27.8 points per game in 1989 and 1990. The 1990 season was O’Neal’s freshman year.
Jackson, who would later change his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, was a scoring machine at the college level and turned LSU into a national power. Even before O’Neal got there.
There is certainly little argument about whether Abdul-Rauf should have his name placed among the best players in LSU history. The question is whether the voice and support from a basketball titan like O’Neal will push things over the top for Abdul-Rauf.